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View Full Version : Holy Depth of Field, Batman (aka, what's your fastest lens?)




SpookTheHamster
Feb 22, 2006, 08:20 AM
I got a shiny new (old) lens in the post today; an old Nikkor 50mm 1.4. I've been playing around with it taking pictures of random crap I have on my desk and this thing is FAST! I'm digging the super shallow DOF, too.

What's your fastest lens? I know quite a few people convert f0.7 lenses from x-ray machines for use on 35mm cameras.

edit: Look at background to the left, my lovely 12" 1GHz PB (just to keep this Mac related ;) )



Mr. Anderson
Feb 22, 2006, 08:32 AM
I have a f2.8 zoom lens - but I'm planning on getting the Sigma 50mm prime 1.4 really soon. The 2.8 is great for 28-75mm, but there are times when having a 1.4 would be even better...

D

Josh
Feb 22, 2006, 09:19 AM
Sweetness!

I was thinkint of getting a very fast 50mm prime soon (I'm debating between Aperture, a new monitor, and the lens).

I might get the lens first, and then save up, and get aperture 2 if its out, or the monitor if not.

SpookTheHamster
Feb 22, 2006, 09:51 AM
I might get the lens first, and then save up, and get aperture 2 if its out, or the monitor if not.

That's probably best, a lot of people have reservations with Aperture. My next buy will probably be a tele lens, software always takes lower priority with me.

JDar
Feb 22, 2006, 10:00 AM
Your old/new fastest lens is also my fastest lens, sitting unused somewhere. I also have a 35 mm f/2 wide angle which was quite nice in its time, and a 135 f/2.8.

I think these old F series lenses won't fit properly onto the newer bodies with all the AF and AE stuff that's been added, at least without modification if that's possible. Anyone know?

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 11:14 AM
I have the 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.4. I also have an oldish Tokina 90mm f/2.5 which is a macro lens. Most of my other lenses are f/2.8, with the exception of the 12-24mm, which is f/4 and the 18-200mm, which is f/3.5-5.6. Oh, and the so-called "kit lens" which came with my D70, which is I think also f/3.5-5.6. I rarely use that lens.

I much prefer fast glass and as I've been developing my lens collection I strive to get not only lenses which will meet certain photographic aims (ie, macro, wide-angle, whatever) but which are also the fastest that I can get. With a faster lens you have much more flexibility when it comes to setting up the shot in various lighting conditions.

ChrisA
Feb 22, 2006, 11:20 AM
I think these old F series lenses won't fit properly onto the newer bodies with all the AF and AE stuff that's been added, at least without modification if that's possible. Anyone know?

The answer is "yes and no".

Yes you can mount your old 35mm f/2.0 lens to a new D50 DSRL body and it will make a nice image. but No, the lens wil not do auto focus and no you can't use the D50's light meter. It only works in fully manual mode.

Yes, if you mount the same 35mm f/2.0 lens on the new D200 DSLR body you Can use the D200's meter and some of the auto modes but of course you still have to rotate the len's focus ring by hand

Both digital bodys offer an "electronic range finder" basically arrows that tell you which way to turn the focus ring and when perfect forcus is achieved. This works well if you have developed poor eyesight.

What exactly works in complicated and depends on the body/lens combination. The worst case is the fist combo above with the D50. But even with no functining meter it's not so bad. Take one exposure with a guessed seting and then look at the histogram display on the LCD and you will know how far off your guess was and the second shot can be dead on.

And one more thing... The Nikon CCD sensor is smaller than a 35mm frame. This has the effect of making the lenses act like they are 1.5 times "longer". So on a Dxx body a 50mm is a moderate telephoto lens. People refer to this as the "1.5X crop factor"

My fasted lens is the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AF It's the best lens for doing pictures of people and relatively inexpensive as Nikon glass goes.

Nikon offers a 50mm f/1.8 AF Lens that sells for just under $100. Less than 1/2 the price of the f/1.4 version

kwajo.com
Feb 22, 2006, 03:02 PM
my fastest lens is a 55mm f/1.7. great portrait lens, especially with the 1.5x crop factor. it may be old, but I love manual focus and Pentax fully supports metering with old lenses so I'm good to go

SpookTheHamster
Feb 22, 2006, 04:40 PM
Your old/new fastest lens is also my fastest lens, sitting unused somewhere. I also have a 35 mm f/2 wide angle which was quite nice in its time, and a 135 f/2.8.

I think these old F series lenses won't fit properly onto the newer bodies with all the AF and AE stuff that's been added, at least without modification if that's possible. Anyone know?

I stated in the original post that I took that picture on my D70, so yes you can use it on a new camera. You lose out on the meter, but if you're halfway decent at working out exposures it's not a problem, or you could get an external meter. The 50mm will act as a 75mm lens because of the smaller sensor, though.

whocares
Feb 22, 2006, 04:59 PM
I'm getting rid of my Nikkor 50/1.4 AF-D on eBay as I type this. Didn't like it much (cheaply made and too much distorsion).

Have a 85/1.8, a 180/2.8 and a 300/2.8. These are all outstanding lenses, nothing short of perfect. The trade-off is weight and fixed focal lengths - I guess you can't win. ;)

Now if I were a smart-arse, I'd say my fastest lense would be the one I might drop. :p :p

Orlando Furioso
Feb 22, 2006, 05:17 PM
woah... seems like everyone here is using Nikkor lenses.

I agree with Clix Pix about having a faster lens for flexibility. I am new to photography, and I was shocked to see how my 50mm f/1.4 performs under less than ideal lighting conditions. I also have a 85mm f/1.8. Both also focus incredibly fast. I think my roommate uses only f/1.0 lenses.

patrick0brien
Feb 22, 2006, 05:59 PM
1.8 on my 60mm MicroNikkor

And you wanna talk narrow DoF. I get about 3-4mm depth wide open and close up. Wish I could take a pic for example right now - but my PB is at home running a securty camera right now.

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 06:36 PM
1.8 on my 60mm MicroNikkor

Are you sure you don't mean f/2.8? I don't think Nikon has done a 60mm f/1.8.... ?

patrick0brien
Feb 22, 2006, 06:54 PM
Are you sure you don't mean f/2.8? I don't think Nikon has done a 60mm f/1.8.... ?

F@!#er!!! - That'll teach me to read.

Yup. 2.8

AtlantaGuy
Feb 22, 2006, 07:57 PM
Well, I HAD a 50/1.2 and a 28/2.0 quite a while back on my Pentax LX. Now I'm getting back into the photography thing but with a digital Nikon Coolpix 5000. Progress? I'm not so sure.

iGary
Feb 22, 2006, 08:04 PM
50mm f1.8

jared_kipe
Feb 22, 2006, 08:50 PM
Well all my lenses are the same speed at the moment. f2.8 including my bitchin 150mm macro. Which will produce sufficiently small DOF if I want. But for really really small DOF nothing beats my reverse mount. Reverse mount at 18mm or 24mm makes things so big with so little DOF I bet its not more than a mm or so.

EDIT: And I guess with my 24-70 that would be f2.8 reversed too (though for macro like that its a sudo f stop)

Orlando Furioso
Feb 22, 2006, 09:52 PM
reverse mount?

swoosh!

The sound of something going over my head.

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 09:53 PM
I've heard of that reverse-mounting trick, but I've never actually attempted it or seen anyone's work who has done it. You have to have some special adapter to connect the two lenses together, right? That certainly would be an interesting approach to doing macro photography!

One of these days I'd love to have the F/1.2 Nikkor in my kit bag..... That would be a fun lens to use for natural light images. For me, the faster lenses really can help fulfill one's creative vision.

homerjward
Feb 22, 2006, 09:56 PM
my fastest lens is my 50mm f/1.8D
im gettin a reversing ring either tomorrow or this weekend. may have to post some samples wide open :D

homerjward
Feb 22, 2006, 09:58 PM
I've heard of that reverse-mounting trick, but I've never actually attempted it or seen anyone's work who has done it. You have to have some special adapter to connect the two lenses together, right? That certainly would be an interesting approach to doing macro photography!

One of these days I'd love to have the F/1.2 Nikkor in my kit bag..... That would be a fun lens to use for natural light images. For me, the faster lenses really can help fulfill one's creative vision.
a reversing ring is basically a 52mm thread to f-mount adapter (example being a 52mm nikon one)
they're quite cheap--$30 new at b&h, $10 used at KEH. im hoping someone sells them locally as well...
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=37171&is=REG

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 10:01 PM
a reversing ring is basically a 52mm thread to f-mount adapter (example being a 52mm nikon one)
they're quite cheap--$30 new at b&h, $10 used at KEH. im hoping someone sells them locally as well...

Thanks, Homer! So you take the reversing ring and connect, for example, two 50mm lenses together, one being in reversed position so that the lens which is mounted properly on the camera is then looking through the other lens at the subject. ?? That could be a very fun project with intriguing results! Please do show us some of your images when you've had the chance to experiment with this.

homerjward
Feb 22, 2006, 10:03 PM
Thanks, Homer! So you take the reversing ring and connect, for example, two 50mm lenses together, one being in reversed position so that the lens which is mounted properly on the camera is then looking through the other lens at the subject. ?? That could be a very fun project with intriguing results! Please do show us some of your images when you've had the chance to experiment with this.
afaik you just mount say a 50mm backwards on the camera. ill find out eventually i guess :p
i suppose a disadvantage is having the rear element exposed...
edit: i was searching the dpreview forums for reversing ring, and stumbled across this post
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17139232
that's some tiny depth of field :eek:

jared_kipe
Feb 22, 2006, 10:10 PM
afaik you just mount say a 50mm backwards on the camera. ill find out eventually i guess :p
i suppose a disadvantage is having the rear element exposed...
edit: i was searching the dpreview forums for reversing ring, and stumbled across this post
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17139232
the lincoln memorial is in focus, and the rest of the penny is out of focus :eek:

This is true... for most mounts
http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-120781.html
http://sailbyair.com/photography/macro.html
Mine, as you can see, is a littleeee more complex than that. And I can use aperture control. I'll be updating that page soon to include my newer Sigma 24-70mm EX DG Macro in the reverse mount. I hope I don't have to rewire it, I didn't design it for such a massive lens (I already got the step down rings from 82mm filter threads to 58mm)

EDIT: Nobody cared back when I posted it, except one guy who emailed me and asked me if I could use my images to teach about DOF.

jared_kipe
Feb 22, 2006, 10:23 PM
\
One of these days I'd love to have the F/1.2 Nikkor in my kit bag..... That would be a fun lens to use for natural light images. For me, the faster lenses really can help fulfill one's creative vision.
Only slightly fun, everything I've read about f1.2 and f1.0 lenses (barring the Canon 85mm f1.2) has said that they are not very sharp or useable, and that the money should be saved and just buy a 1.4.

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 11:32 PM
Mine, as you can see, is a littleeee more complex than that. And I can use aperture control. I'll be updating that page soon to include my newer Sigma 24-70mm EX DG Macro in the reverse mount. I hope I don't have to rewire it, I didn't design it for such a massive lens (I already got the step down rings from 82mm filter threads to 58mm}

Holy Cow! Erm, yes, I would say that your approach is very much more complex than simply connecting two lenses together with a reversing adapter ring. Whooooo!

VERY interesting!

(I think I'll stick to just using my macro lenses in the way in which they were designed....)

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 11:34 PM
Only slightly fun, everything I've read about f1.2 and f1.0 lenses (barring the Canon 85mm f1.2) has said that they are not very sharp or useable, and that the money should be saved and just buy a 1.4.

Well, since I've already got the f/1.4, this would just be going a bit further.... And, yes, one would need to be somewhat careful and selective when using any f/1.2 or f/1.0 lens because of the depth-of-field issues and the focusing issues.

jared_kipe
Feb 23, 2006, 12:08 AM
Well, since I've already got the f/1.4, this would just be going a bit further.... And, yes, one would need to be somewhat careful and selective when using any f/1.2 or f/1.0 lens because of the depth-of-field issues and the focusing issues.
No I mean their optical qualities not being so good. Besides how many stops is 1.2 or 1.0 over 1.4?

Mike Teezie
Feb 23, 2006, 01:45 AM
Canon 50mm f/1.8 for me.

cube
Feb 23, 2006, 05:43 AM
Nikkor 50/1.4 AF-D. Made in China.

andym172
Feb 23, 2006, 05:51 AM
Canon 35L 1.4 for me :)

Would love the new 85L :D

monkeydo_jb
Feb 23, 2006, 08:51 AM
Canon 50mm f/1.8 for me, too.


http://www.sveltegeek.com/images/shallow-leaf.jpg

whocares
Feb 23, 2006, 11:52 AM
Canon 50mm f/1.8 for me, too.


<leaf pic>


Great composition and tones, but more DOF would have made it perfect. This is kinda going against the stream in this thread, but what the hell!

monkeydo_jb
Feb 23, 2006, 11:55 AM
Great composition and tones, but more DOF would have made it perfect. This is kinda going against the stream in this thread, but what the hell!

Thanks for the comment! I agree about slightly more DOF to get the whole leaf in focus. The 2.5" LCD on the new 30D might have helped... (for reviewing)

Josh
Feb 23, 2006, 12:16 PM
I've been wanting a fast prime for some time now, and because of this thread restirring my need to have one (lol) I just ordered a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D from bhphoto.

I'll have it for the weekend to test it out, and I'll be posting some pics soon :D :D :D :D

kjr39
Feb 23, 2006, 12:18 PM
Canon 50 f/1.4
Canon 35 f/2.0
Tamron 28-75 f/2.0

a few that stop at 4.0

jared_kipe
Feb 23, 2006, 12:25 PM
Canon 50 f/1.4
Canon 35 f/2.0
Tamron 28-75 f/2.0

a few that stop at 4.0

Tamron 28-75 f2.0?? improbable. That would be awesome though, it would be the fastest normal zoom ever.

ScubaDuc
Feb 23, 2006, 06:02 PM
Your old/new fastest lens is also my fastest lens, sitting unused somewhere. I also have a 35 mm f/2 wide angle which was quite nice in its time, and a 135 f/2.8.

I think these old F series lenses won't fit properly onto the newer bodies with all the AF and AE stuff that's been added, at least without modification if that's possible. Anyone know?


I apologize if this has been anwered earlier in the thread. Nikon AI lenses (the old kind with auto indexing, ie: those that you can read the aperture in your view finder) work with only a limited number of digital bodies, the cheapest being the D200. The lenses will work (mount) on all Nikon bodies but you will not be able to use the exposure meter (get a light reading) with a D50/70/100. In all cases they will always be manual focus. I also have a Nikkor 50 mm 1.4 but someone in another thread had mentioned having a 1.2 :rolleyes: That must be fast! I have heard that there might be a cheaper version of the D200 (rumored) so I am hoping I will be able to get a digital body that will work with my old Nikkor lenses since I have loads. However, to this day, I think film is better for low light situations and my F3 with a Coolpix V scanner will beat any digital pro camera, provided you know how to use it ;)

Mike Teezie
Feb 23, 2006, 08:04 PM
Here's a shot of one of my fam's cats with my 50mm 1.8 - has a pretty narrow DOF. Love that lens!

It maybe hard to tell in the small jpg though.

http://mnjordan.com/images/misc/mr/kitty.jpg

homerjward
Feb 23, 2006, 10:34 PM
couldn't find a reversing ring locally (or in austin) and i needed it for this weekend...o well

i might not end up ordering it, cause i only needed it briefly (for photographing some coins for a science project)

boyd's camera has a used 49mm reversing ring i think. any way to make this work? :o

MattG
Feb 24, 2006, 04:22 AM
Canon 50mm f/1.4

Very nice lens

geeman
Feb 24, 2006, 05:35 AM
No I mean their optical qualities not being so good. Besides how many stops is 1.2 or 1.0 over 1.4?

Very-wide aperture lenses often exhibit more obvious vignetting (edge darkening) because of the optical effect of light rays having to travel further to the focal plane the further away they are from the optical axis. Also, their minimum aperture is usually less wide (typically only stopping down to f16) since smaller apertures often introduce diffraction (seen as a softening and drop in image contrast). That's maybe what you meant about wide-barrel lenses having lower optical qualities.

That said, at 'normal' apertures (from maybe f2.8 to about f11) the quality of wide-barrel lenses is just about as good as from anything else.

f1.2 is half a stop wider than f1.4. f1.0 is a stop wider than f1.4. FYI f-numbers increase/decrease by a factor of the square-root of 2 (with a little rounding-up to keep things sane).

I used to have a Leica M4-P with a Noctilux 50mm f1.0. It weighed an absolute ton and focussing at f1.0 was like Russian roulette (lens theory tells you that at f1.0 a subject 6ft away gives you depth-of-field of a little over an inch!). Vignetting at full-bore dropped the image edges down by (at a guess) a couple of stops. However, stop down to f5.6/f6.7 and the image was awesome. That lens was a beauty.

(time to take off the rose-tinted specs....;) )

Josh
Feb 24, 2006, 04:51 PM
WOW! I am very impressed with the Nikkor 1.4D.

I just opened it out of the box less than an hour ago, and have had limited time to use it, but I'm happy so far :D

Here's a snap from outback.

kjr39
Feb 24, 2006, 05:06 PM
Tamron 28-75 f2.0?? improbable. That would be awesome though, it would be the fastest normal zoom ever.

Oops! Typo. Should be 2.8...

iGary
Feb 24, 2006, 05:10 PM
WOW! I am very impressed with the Nikkor 1.4D.

I just opened it out of the box less than an hour ago, and have had limited time to use it, but I'm happy so far :D

Here's a snap from outback.

Schweet. :D

iGary
Feb 24, 2006, 05:11 PM
Canon 50mm f/1.8 for me, too.


http://www.sveltegeek.com/images/shallow-leaf.jpg

Very nice.

monkeydo_jb
Feb 26, 2006, 09:08 PM
Very nice.

Thanks, iGary.

Got that Canon 50 1.8 per your advice in a PM (that I never replied to :o )


Let me now formally thank you for the advice...like 6 months ago.




Thank you.

mkrishnan
Feb 26, 2006, 09:29 PM
Canon 50mm f/1.4

Very nice lens

Yes, I adore this lens. :)

kjs862
Mar 7, 2006, 04:06 PM
My lens with the greatest depth of field would be my 70-200 f2.8 all the way through.

cgratti
Mar 7, 2006, 05:14 PM
50mm f1.8

Same here

snap58
Mar 7, 2006, 05:18 PM
Would be my 135 2.0 L

Dagless
Mar 7, 2006, 06:51 PM
http://satansam.co.uk/ftp/warmkeyboard.jpg

My best attempt :( not a fast lens.

Clix Pix
Mar 7, 2006, 07:14 PM
[
My best attempt :( not a fast lens.

A neat idea! In this instance a tripod would have helped significantly so that you could have then had an aperture which would allow for appropriate depth-of-field....

jared_kipe
Mar 7, 2006, 07:17 PM
Very-wide aperture lenses often exhibit more obvious vignetting (edge darkening) because of the optical effect of light rays having to travel further to the focal plane the further away they are from the optical axis. Also, their minimum aperture is usually less wide (typically only stopping down to f16) since smaller apertures often introduce diffraction (seen as a softening and drop in image contrast). That's maybe what you meant about wide-barrel lenses having lower optical qualities.

...
f1.2 is half a stop wider than f1.4. f1.0 is a stop wider than f1.4. FYI f-numbers increase/decrease by a factor of the square-root of 2 (with a little rounding-up to keep things sane).


Since the f-stop number is the ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the front lens element (the effective diameter after the aperture blades), logic would dictate that f16 will loose exactly the same amount of detail to diffraction as any lens of equal focal length.

As per the increase or decrease by square root of 2 thing, the square root of 2 is 1.414, so if we add to it 1.414 we get 2.828, not 2.0. And if we subtract it we get zero. The square root of two thing is an approximation, unless I don't understand what you're talking about. 5.6+1.414=~7 and 8+1.414 =9.414, not 8 and 11 respectively.

I will now atempt to derive a relationship to give you the correct f stop relationship...

Since the aperture ratio goes down one stop when the area of the widest point

ratio=f/(2r)

area of circle=a=Pi(r^2)

Now if we solve for r and assume we will be taking 1/2 over and over to find each successive aperture number then we'll say

r=squareroot(a/(pi 2^n)) where n is an arbitrary number I will give constraints in a bit

ratio=f/(2squareroot(a/(pi 2^n)))

now we know ratio=1 is a value, and we'll let that value occur when n=0

1=f/(2squareroot(a/(pi 2^n)))
or
f=2squareroot(a/pi 2^0) with 2^0=1 for those who don't know

that lets us simplify everything nicely to
ratio=1/(1/squareroot(2^n)) which cleaning up using rules of exponents to

ratio=2^(n/2) there is where you get your square root of 2 nonsense, its when n=1 ... let us verify

n=0 ratio=1
n=1 ratio=1.414
n=2 ratio=2 (we picked up the missing 2)
n=3 ratio=2.83
n=4 ratio=4
n=5 ratio=5.66
n=6 ratio=8

And so on , note that for even n this ratio will always be a counting number, and for all odd n the ratio will be irrational.

I would assume this would work with n being negative too, to find stops faster than 1.0.
EDIT: Also note that this formulae works for 1/2 or 1/3 stop too, just make it 2^(n/4) or 2^(n/6) respectively.

snap58
Mar 7, 2006, 07:57 PM
Since the f-stop number is the ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the front lens element (the effective diameter after the aperture blades), logic would dictate that f16 will loose exactly the same amount of detail to diffraction as any lens of equal focal length.

As per the increase or decrease by square root of 2 thing, the square root of 2 is 1.414, so if we add to it 1.414 we get 2.828, not 2.0. And if we subtract it we get zero. The square root of two thing is an approximation, unless I don't understand what you're talking about. 5.6+1.414=~7 and 8+1.414 =9.414, not 8 and 11 respectively.

I will now atempt to derive a relationship to give you the correct f stop relationship...

Since the aperture ratio goes down one stop when the area of the widest point

ratio=f/(2r)

area of circle=a=Pi(r^2)

Now if we solve for r and assume we will be taking 1/2 over and over to find each successive aperture number then we'll say

r=squareroot(a/(pi 2^n)) where n is an arbitrary number I will give constraints in a bit

ratio=f/(2squareroot(a/(pi 2^n)))

now we know ratio=1 is a value, and we'll let that value occur when n=0

1=f/(2squareroot(a/(pi 2^n)))
or
f=2squareroot(a/pi 2^0) with 2^0=1 for those who don't know

that lets us simplify everything nicely to
ratio=1/(1/squareroot(2^n)) which cleaning up using rules of exponents to

ratio=2^(n/2) there is where you get your square root of 2 nonsense, its when n=1 ... let us verify

n=0 ratio=1
n=1 ratio=1.414
n=2 ratio=2 (we picked up the missing 2)
n=3 ratio=2.83
n=4 ratio=4
n=5 ratio=5.66
n=6 ratio=8

And so on , note that for even n this ratio will always be a counting number, and for all odd n the ratio will be irrational.

I would assume this would work with n being negative too, to find stops faster than 1.0.
EDIT: Also note that this formulae works for 1/2 or 1/3 stop too, just make it 2^(n/4) or 2^(n/6) respectively.

Maybe if you multiply by 1.414?